MPost's Bold Move to Kigali

MPost, a Kenyan startup renowned for its groundbreaking transformation of mobile numbers into virtual addresses, has announced a strategic shift in its operational base. The company is relocating its headquarters from Nairobi to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, effective November 2023. This move, seen as part of a broader trend of Kenyan startups exploring new horizons, is attributed to the more conducive business environment in Rwanda.

Rwanda's Business-Friendly Landscape

Founded in 2016 by Abdulaziz Omar and Twahir Mohamed, MPost has been a trailblazer in digital addressing, postal services, logistics, and e-commerce across Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. The decision to move its headquarters to Rwanda is in line with the country's advantageous business climate, especially for tech startups. This marks a significant milestone for MPost and underscores the strategic importance of Rwanda in the company's expansion plans.

Norrsken Partnership: A Key Element in MPost's Move

As part of its relocation, MPost will establish its base at Norrsken, a Swedish coworking space and investment fund that ventured into Rwanda in 2019. Norrsken's commitment to supporting African growth-stage startups is evident in its recent fund closure at USD 205 million. Twahir Mohamed, Founder of MPost, expressed enthusiasm about the move, highlighting its role as a launchpad for the company's pan-African ambitions.

“This decision serves as our launchpad into Africa, and we look forward to contributing to Kigali’s thriving business community while leveraging the support and resources available at Norrsken to propel MPost to new heights,” stated Mohamed.

Rwanda's Commitment to Innovation

MPost attributes its decision to relocate to Rwanda to the government's dedication to fostering innovation and creating an enabling environment for tech entrepreneurs. Rwanda, emerging as a sought-after destination for its vibrant tech ecosystem and growing startup community, aligns with MPost's ambitious expansion goals.

Kenyan Tech Landscape: Challenges and Concerns

On the flip side, the tech business landscape in Kenya has witnessed concerns due to increased taxes targeting digital economy players. Recent tax hikes, including a doubling of the digital service tax and heightened corporate tax rates, have sparked discontent among tech firms in Kenya.

The startup community in Kenya has felt the pressure of perceived disincentives, with notable instances like Pesapal, a payments services startup, facing a significant tax bill, leading to unease in the industry.

Wasoko's Shift and Wider Implications

Notably, other players in Africa's B2B e-commerce scene, such as Wasoko, reportedly shifted its headquarters from Kenya to Zanzibar, citing unfavorable conditions in Kenya. While Wasoko clarified its headquarters remain in Kenya, this move underscores a trend where startups seek more favorable environments amid uncertainties.

The Kenyan government's broadening of the tax net to include e-book sales, movie streaming, online dating, gaming, and subscription-based media has added to apprehensions among tech-based businesses.